Italy meets India in this amazing fusion Makhani eggplant rollatini recipe. Cheesy filled eggplant spirals sit atop the easiest makhani (also known as butter chicken) sauce and are topped with even more cheese to make this amazing, melt in your mouth and flavorful dish!
What is Eggplant Rollatini?
Eggplant rollatini an Italian-style dish that usually consists of thinly sliced eggplant that is rolled up with a ricotta cheese filling, and baked with a tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Usually before filling, the eggplants are coated with either a flour or breadcrumb mixture and are shallow fried (similar to eggplant parmesan). I find that this process makes this dish too rich and baking the eggplants works really well here instead of frying. You still get to enjoy this amazing dish with all its cheesy goodness but no added carbs! Yay!
How did I come up with this dish?
My husband is a huge fan of eggplants and I have made the traditional Italian version for him so many times. In fact, I was going to make a recipe video on the traditional recipe. But on that night I was also craving a creamy curry like butter chicken 😍, which got me thinking.. How would it taste if I combined eggplant rollatini with an Indian curry sauce. Et voila! This dish was born 👏
And let me tell you, we really really enjoyed this Makhani eggplant rollatini, even more than the original recipe. I find the tomato sauce too tart and watery in the original version. This version is perfect with the creamy cashew tomato sauce and the cheesy eggplants ❤
Substitutions/alternate stuffing options
I've kept the stuffing for this recipe pretty close to traditional (with a few Indian extras). However, I understand that it might be hard to source ricotta cheese in some parts of the world.
If you can't find ricotta cheese, you could substitute it with strained cottage cheese curds, cream cheese or goat cheese. Freshly made paneer (without all its moisture pressed out) will also work well here.
If you are vegan, or don't consume eggs, I think another absolutely amazing stuffing option would be the potato peas filling from my samosa rolls recipe. The potato stuffing will make an incredible combination with the creamy makhani sauce. Use vegan cheese instead of the mozzarella topping or even omit it entirely.
The easiest cheesy garlic bread
I served this eggplant rollatini with my easy cheesy garlic bread. Just mix together butter with a few ingredients, slather your bread generously, top with cheese and bake in the oven when the eggplant rollatini is just about done! (Full recipe below). Cheesy, garlicky and perfectly crusty to dip into the Makhani sauce.
I think this dish will also work really well alongside a simple pulao/pilaf or even a nice toasty naan or pita bread.
Oven safe dishes to use while making this recipe
I love using my ceramic baking pan for this recipe for a perfect oven to table presentation. I also own this pyrex baking pan and cast iron skillet, both of which will work great for this recipe and look beautiful when served to your guests.
How to make this dish without an oven?
If you don't have an oven, you could totally make this dish on the stove top. Initially, cook the eggplants in a skillet for about 3-4 minutes on each side until they are soft and pliable. You might need to use a little more oil for this step.
After you have made the sauce in a wide pan, arrange the eggplant spirals over the top of the sauce and top with the cheese as mentioned in the original recipe. Cover the pan with a lid and place it on medium low heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is nicely melted.
Storage and re-heating instructions
This dish stores really well in both the fridge and freezer. After you have baked the dish, you can store leftovers in the fridge for upto 5 days and reheat in the microwave before eating.
If you would like to freeze this eggplant rollatini, follow all the steps until before the final bake. Cover your baking dish well (I like to use these reusable bees wax wraps) and pop it in the freezer. It will stay well in the freezer for about 3 months.
When you're ready to eat the dish, place it out on your counter while the oven is preheating and then bake directly from frozen (no thawing necessary) for about 45 minutes to an hour. Keep an eye out after 45 minutes.
I hope you like this recipe as. much as I do. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you think and subscribe to my social media if you would like to see more easy and delicious recipes.
Makhani eggplant rollatini
For the eggplants:
For the stuffing:
For the sauce:
- 1 large onion roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 10 cashews
- 4 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder (or unsmoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
For the garlic bread:
- 3 tablespoons salted butter (softened at room temperature)
- 3 medium garlic cloves (finely minced or crushed in a garlic press)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon dried cilantro (optional)
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 slices sourdough bread (or any bread of your choice)
To precook the eggplants:
- Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.
- Slice the eggplants lengthwise into ¼" thick slices. I used 2 eggplants and sliced each into 6 slices. Arrange them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Mix together the oil, red pepper flakes and crushed garlic and apply it over all the eggplant slices. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and nicely flexible.
- Take the eggplants out of the oven and let them cool down.
To make the makhani sauce:
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan. When it gets hot, add in the onions and season with salt. Cook them until they turn translucent. When the onions are soft and lightly browned, add in the ginger garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes (or until lightly browned).
- Next, add in the tomatoes and cashews and cook this mixture for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are super soft and mushy and most of the liquid has evaporated. Take it off the heat and let this mixture cool down.
- Puree the cooled mixture into a fine paste using a blender or food processor.
- Heat a teaspoon of oil and a tablespoon of butter in the same pan. When it gets hot, add in the kasoori methi and kashmiri chilli powder and toast the spices for about a minute before adding in the puree from the blender. Rinse out the blender with ¼ to ½ cup of water and add it into the pan.
- Simmer this curry mixture for about 5 minutes on medium low heat before adding in the honey and garam masala. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and cook for 1 more minute before turning off the heat
- Transfer the curry sauce into an oven safe baking dish and spread evenly in the bottom. Save ¼ cup of the curry for later.
To make the filling:
- Mix together all the ingredients in the stuffing section above. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling onto each cooled eggplant slice before rolling into a spiral.
To assemble and bake:
- Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.
- Place the eggplant spirals onto the makhani sauce lined baking dish.
- Top each spiral with the reserved makhani sauce and then top each spiral with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is nicely melted.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with some crunchy garlic bread.
To make the garlic bread:
- Mix together the crushed garlic, red pepper flakes and dried cilantro with the softened butter until homogeneous. Apply this mixture generously over the slices of bread and top each slice with about a tablespoon of mozzarella cheese.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the same 400F/200C oven for about 6-8 minutes or until the bread is crunchy and the cheese is nicely melted.
- If you can't find ricotta cheese, you could substitute it with strained cottage cheese curds, cream cheese or goats cheese. Freshly made paneer (without all its moisture pressed out) will also work well here.
- If you are vegan, or don't consume eggs, replace the stuffing with the potato peas filling from my samosa rolls recipe. Use oil instead of the butter and substitute mozzarella with vegan cheese or even omit the cheese entirely.